A new class of adaptive and biomimetic neuronal platforms has been developed for the first time by direct coupling of biological neuronal cells with a neuromorphic chip. Despite standard neuroelectronic interfaces, the biohybrid synapse formed between the living and artificial neuronal systems is capable of interacting, keeping active memory of the communication through electricity over time as it happens in the brain.

We developed a biohybrid synapse through the coupling of an artificial neuron (organic neuromorphic device) and biological neuronal cells spontaneously releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine. The electrical properties of the neuromorphic devices allow for the effective realization of memory states dependent on the dopamine concentration over time. These electronic states can be maintained by giving an actual footprint of the point-by-point communication with the living neurons. This is the first example of such bioelectronic coupling as conventional electronics is only designed to monitor or stimulate cells over time by the external imposition of certain parameters. The unique communication frameworks imposed by the retention of memory states by the neuromorphic device allows for emulation and an adaptive interaction with cells which can be further exploited for implantable neuroprosthetics.


Tags: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, IIT, Tissue Electronics lab, artificial synapse, biohybrid model, MeetIIT, biomimetic neuronal platforms.